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A highway to heaven

A tractor-trailer hauling milk at 3:30 a.m. jackknifed on Interstate 89 and completely blocked the road. Within minutes, a passenger vehicle collided with it. In turn, another tractor-trailer that was also hauling milk hit both truck no. 1 and the auto. Both tractor-trailer drivers hauled milk along this route regularly.

The jackknifed tractor-trailer driver survived the crashes, but one of the two occupants in the auto did not. The second milk truck driver died.

As I passed the crash site the following day, highway workers had replaced guardrails and a towing company hauled off the charred carnage while the smell of smoke hovered thick in the atmosphere.

This is another one of my lectures about winter driving tips. I was going to write that there are scant few, if any, situations related to icy roads that cause you to have an accident. But here, now, after this local deadly ice related double fatality, I'd look like a goof suggesting such a thing. Guess who's a goof?

The list of so-called causes of this accident is nearly endless, and should include-

Traveling at 3:30 a.m., especially during winter. The drivers may have been over driving the hard to read conditions. (Records show the temperature was between 30-34 degrees). The folks in the vehicle who came upon the tractor-trailer might, I stress might, have been following too closely. All drivers involved could have been tired. Visibility could have been zero. One or all of the motor vehicles may have had poor tire rubber.

Do not assume I'm blaming human error for this awful crash. But do assume I'm saying one could blame a series of humanly avoidable circumstances which probably led to the crash-if only one of those circumstances was avoided those folks who died might still be alive. Reports following the event included Vermont's top road expert bucking up his crew procedures from that night; to me anyway it seems like as usual, our road crews were right on top of doing a good job keeping the roads passable.

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